FEATURE: INCREASE OF MINIMUM WAGE AND INABILITIES OF STATE GOVERNMENTS TO PAY WORKERS' SALARY
Nigeria urgently NEEDS a new REVENUE SHARING FORMULAE-
DR. KAYODE AJULO
DR. KAYODE AJULO
An Abuja based lawyer and former National Secretary of Labour Party, Dr. Kayode Ajulo on Workers Day celebration called for a new revenue sharing formula for Nigeria.
He said that there is need for the Federal government to immediately review revenue sharing formulae between the tiers of government as a solution to the lingering unpaid salaries of workers in the service of State government.
He also insists that the review is imperative based on the need to increase minimum wage in country claiming that the minimum wage law signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan provides for review of the wage every five (5) years.
Ajulo who is also the Chairman of Egalitarian Mission, Africa, maintained that Fiscal policies in Nigeria give more powers to the Federal Government than the other sub-federal units combined which he claimed has ensured an increased dependence of the sub-federal units on the federal government particularly for their finances.
According to the legal luminary, "Nigeria in the last two years have been enmeshed in an awkward reality of inability of state Governments to pay salaries to their workers with consequent hardship bedeviling both workers and the citizens.
Hence, I have found it imperative and exigent to state the facts and set the records straight on the economic status at this point in time in our country.
He further stated that more than 80% of the states in Nigeria are too broke to carry out their fundamental functions and primary administrative assignments.
"It is an indisputable fact today in this country, that not less than 29 of our 36 states governments can no longer pay workers' salary as at when due. Some states are owning workers' salaries running to almost a year" Ajulo continued.
He maintained that "many states have violated minimum wages law and have resorted to payment in percentages ( ranging from 25% to 50% salaries), while some pay 'net salaries'. More worrisome is the fact that the provision of dividends of democracy in welfare projects and provision of basic social amenities is gradually becoming elusive because of the paucity of funds in the states."
Ajulo submitted that the present revenue sharing formulae is however almost antithetical at the federal level as this is evident in the numbers of very expensive but almost unnecessary federal parastatals and agencies, the unthinkable amounts of allowances accrued to federal aids and appointees and the unreasonably high cost of presidential trips, predicated upon the numbers of practically useless aids paraded on such trips, to mention but a few.
"The financial responsibilities of the states on the other hand is obviously incomparably higher than that of the federal government because they are closer to the people"
He thereafter urge that there is a non-negotiable need to go back to the basis and revisit our national fund sharing formula, in which if as little as 5% is conceded from the Federal Government's share to the State governments as a serious national hardship and security threat looming would be abated.
He consequently called upon the NLC, TUC, all other national workers unions in the country and well meaning Nigerians to agree, cooperate and work with the state governors and demand for a re-evaluation of the revenue allocation formula by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
This according to Ajulo is in the interest of vast majority of the Nigerian workers and fellow compatriots across the nation as the bail outs given to the States by Federal Government have shown to be ineffective.
Ajulo concluded that paragraph 32 of Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vested the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission with powers and responsibilities to "Review from time to time, the revenue allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities"
Noting that despite the constitutional power vested in the Commission, with regards to the responsibility of fixing revenue sharing formula for the country, the Commission is hesitant to do the desirable to reflect contemporary realities.
Above is MAY DAY Message from Abuja based legal practitioner.